Over the past few years, technology legislation has become a major issue with lawmakers all over the world. Instead of focusing on issues that may be a bit more pressing, most laws or rulings have been aimed at making our tech-filled lives increasingly more daunting to enjoy.
In fact, during that time we have seen lawmakers institute ridiculous privacy laws, succumb to the pressures placed upon them by huge organizations and set dangerous precedents that have proved detrimental to the entire tech industry.
So bad are these developments that it is my belief that lawmakers themselves have set the tech industry back at least five years and have single-handedly ensured that the momentum of the industry is kept in check long enough for powerful organizations to find a way to stop it and profit off even the most trivial of circumstances.
For example, do we really need a law that prohibits the use of cell phones in cars? Sure, it makes sense to stop people from talking on phones while driving to some extent, but a slew of studies have shown that other activities like singing and smoking have proven to be just as dangerous. Will lawmakers remove radios and ashtrays from cars?
But the real issue is not that a woman is being charged over $9,000 for each song she allegedly "stole" from the recording industry or that the battle over Net Neutrality is still being waged even though none of the three presidential candidates even care. Instead, the real issue is that lawmakers are doing their part to ruin the tech industry as we know it.
Maybe I'm partial, but couldn't it be said that the technology industry is easily the most important element of the entire world economy? And while I know some would say that healthcare is an important industry and others would argue for the financial sector, I disagree.
Think of it this way -- without technology and the developments being made each day in the sector, the world economy would not be nearly as strong and many of the progress we're seeing in any other field can be traced back to a computer or the Internet or any other tech that provided the catalyst for action.
As I said once before on these pages,and although I wouldn't paint such a picture with every piece of technology, the entire industry is extremely important to this country and especially, the world.
If we know this, why don't lawmakers? Why are lawmakers constantly doing what they can to make the Verizons and Comcasts of the world happy to the detriment of the Joes and Janes all over the United States? Why is it that when given the opportunity to do something that could have a dramatic impact on the entire nation, lawmakers instead choose to ignore the problem or find a way to reduce the positive impact?
No better is this exemplified in the average lawmaker's ignorance about what's really going on in the world of piracy.
How many times must we listen to people in positions of power wax poetic about the banes of piracy? Invariably, the discussion will move from one about illegal activity to a referendum on losing money. But if these lawmakers had a modicum of knowledge on the subject, surely they would know that piracy is not the cause, but rather the effect of deplorable tactics on the part of organizations like the RIAA and even lawmakers themselves that force people to pay thousands of dollars for a stolen track that's worth no more than $1, right?
Don't be so sure. Regardless of where you stand on the issue of the XM-Sirius merger, the debate (or lack thereof) has lingered longer than any other merger bid in history. Just a few weeks ago, the Department of Justice said the merger should happen and now even more bureaucrats must make the final decision. And although it should have happened months ago and the discussion about 'monopoly' is one that's both faulty and illogical, lawmakers are doing everything they can to ensure that the merger doesn't happen and make it seem that Clear Channel isn't playing a part in it.
Once again, lawmakers are making things far more difficult than they should be and in the process, they are punishing two companies that provide a service that millions of people enjoy. And if they don't approve the merger, the chances of both XM and Sirius hanging around are actually quite slim.
Let's not forget that the XM-Sirius merger debacle is the norm and most certainly not the exception. Almost every day we're inundated with news that highlights the ignorance of lawmakers and shows the negative impact those faulty moves have had on millions across the globe.
If left to their own devices, lawmakers will continue to stunt the tech industry's growth and put millions across the globe in a position where doing what they want, how they want with any piece of technology is abandoned.
So what's the solution? Time. Until the younger generation that truly appreciates technology assumes positions of power in the government, expect more of the same.